Chitrakoot Falls, is a natural waterfall located to the west of Jagdalpur, in Bastar District in Chhatisgarh on the Indravati River. The height of the falls is about 98 feet. It is the widest waterfall in India, about 980 feet. Because of its width and wide spread during the monsoon season, it is often called the “Niagara Falls” of India.—– The Chitrakoot Falls is located on the Indravati River. The river originates in the Kalahari region of Orissa, in the Vindhya Range of hills, flows westward and then forms a fall at Chitrakoot, enters Andhra Pradesh and finally flows into the Godavari River, after traversing 240 miles in the state at Bhadrakali. The free drop of the falls is a sheer 98 feet. Because of its horseshoe shape, it is compared with the Niagara Falls and is given the sobriquet “The Small Niagara Falls”.
During the rainy season, from July to October, rainbows are created with sun rays reflecting on mist from the waterfall. On the left bank of the Chitrakoot Falls, a small Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva and several naturally created grottos named “Parvati Caves” are located. The weather in the area is generally pleasant, except in the summer season when it is hot due to the absence of vegetation in the area. The river flows sluggishly on the upstream side of the falls due to its meandering nature as it drains through the plains of Jagdalpur. The reach of the river valley has very little forest cover. Below the Falls, the river traverses the Bodhghat forested area and the river regime undergoes drastic change in its flow conditions. Aeration process and the forest in the downstream area filters the sile in the river.
Chitrakoot Falls is one of the six waterfalls, in India, which is classified as a geomorphic sites / geo heritage site, geomorphological landforms under the category of “natural waterfalls”. Geo Heritage Sites are ancient geological sites of scientific, cultural, socio-economic significance. They have ben studied and discussed and have received support from International Institutions such as UNESCO, IUCN, IUGS and IAG.
The Chitrakoot Falls, which spreads over three “braids”, during the low-flow season, is a single sheet of flow over a free fall forming a “horseshoe” shaped gorge. Though it is about one-third less in width compared to that of the Niagara Falls, its visual splendour is described as equally impressive.
Local boat facilities operating below and under the falls, in a misty atmosphere, provide view of the falls under an early morning sun in reflected sunlight and in a blue hue. As the fast flowing water of the river flows over the sharp, near vertical rock exposure, at the widest reach of the river, it hits into a pond formed in a semi-circular shape at the bottom of the falls.
Adventure sports enthusiasts use boats in the stormy part of this pond. Pilgrims bathe in the calmer part of the pond. In the pool, below the falls, swimming is permitted and paddle boats are permitted.
The Ministry of Tourism and Development of the Government of India had assessed the potential of this site in 2003 as of a natural “ambience” suitable for development of eco-tourism. Based on this assessment, plans were drawn up to develop facilities such as local restaurants, nature camping sites, a playground for children and platforms to view the falls, also to improve the road condition, fix signs along the road from Jagdalpur to the falls and beautify the site.
As of 2010, there is a government-run hotel at the top of the fall. A series of steps, from the garden of the hotel, leads to the falls.Chitrakoot Log Huts, with basic and modern cabins have also been built at the location. Some of the cabins provide views of the falls.